People who ride horses can be called 'equestrians' although an equestrian is usually thought of as a horse rider in a competition rather than a cowboy. Equestrians ride in competitions such as the Olympic Games and Gymkhanas. These games are usually costly to enter and so are considered rich people's sports. In these sports the skill of the horse is just as important as the skill of the equestrian.
The health and fitness of the horse and its rider are of the utmost importance. The vet will take care of the horse's inner being and the stable boy will take care of its external care. Part of this care depends on using proper horse blankets some of which are known as horse rugs or horse sheets.
Horse blankets are used to protect the horse from the elements in much the same fashion as we use clothes. Race horses are extremely strung animals and can become sick quite quickly if they are not looked after properly. They have to be treated like an Olympic sportsman would take care of himself.
When a horse has been exercising, which mostly means running or jumping, it will develop a sweat. When it stops exercising, it will get a chill unless looked after. That is where anti-sweat or cooling rugs come in. These rugs have a fine mesh weave, which allows the horse's skin to breathe, which means that the sweat will evaporate without the horse cooling down too quickly.
There is also a fly sheet or fly rug which will keep horse flies, mosquitoes and other insects off the horse while it is at rest, grazing in a field. The fly sheet can have other attachments to protect its neck and head. These additional pieces are called neck covers, bonnets and fly masks. That full kit provides better protection from insects which can spread diseases as mosquitoes do in humans.
A summer sheet is a lighter kind of rug, which will protect the horse from insects and direct sunlight during the warmer months. They can also be used as travel rugs when the horse is in his trailer.
Under blankets or liners are used under heavier blankets to prevent rub or friction from heavy stable rugs. These under blankets are usually manufactured from wool because it is soft, natural and absorbent.
Stable rugs are used to keep the horse warm during the colder winter months and they come in several thicknesses and weights much the same as duvets come in various tog values.
Turnout rugs are more like overcoats and are long enough to wrap around underneath the horse's belly to protect it from the chill and rain. These turnout rugs also come in various thicknesses for protection against different degrees of cold. Turnout rugs can also be utilized in the summer, but they are significantly thinner than the winter kind.
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